The Lost World of Schoolhouse Rock

Screenshot from I’m Just a Bill Season 3 Episode 1, September 18, 1975 (Dave Frishberg, Jack Sheldon/Screenshot via YouTube)
The legislative process that the Framers carefully set up has gone awry.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE ‘I ’m just a bill . . . and I’m sitting here on Capitol Hill.”

So goes the Schoolhouse Rock song, wherein a bill in Congress explains its journey from idea to written proposal to law. Millions of Americans learned the basics of the legislative process from the “I’m Just a Bill” lyrics. The song’s author, Dave Frishberg, passed away on Wednesday at the age of 88.

Unfortunately, the legislative process the song describes does not live on. Not really. Laws consist of rules that bind human action on pain of punishment, and Congress still does make such rules. Those rules, however, constitute

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